Study Finds Fewer Wisconsin Residents Exposed to Secondhand Smoke Following Smoke- Free Air Law

Tuesday, August 28, 2012 - 10:21am

Smoke-Free Policies More Common in Homes as well as Workplaces

Health advocates from Tobacco Free Columbia-Dane County Coalition (TFCDC) today announced a report released in the Wisconsin Medical Journal showing exposure to secondhand smoke has declined significantly since the smoke-free air law took effect in July 2010.

The study, which was conducted by University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health researchers, found significant decreases in exposure to smoke inside the home, outside the home, and at work. It also
showed that since the law went into effect, residents are more likely to institute no-smoking policies in their households.

"More than two years after the smoke-free law's passage, it's clearer than ever that Wisconsin is better - and healthier - smoke-free" said Bev Jambois, Coalition Chair. "It's also very encouraging to see more residents are making their own homes smoke-free since children are especially vulnerable to the health harms of secondhand smoke."

The report shows that since the smoke-free air law went into effect:
• The percentage of residents exposed to smoke outside the home declined from 55% to 32%
• The percentage of residents exposed to smoke at home declined from 13% to 7%
• The percentage of residents with no-smoking policies in their households rose from 74% to 80%.

This report follows other studies that showed dramatic improvements in bartender health and bar and restaurant air quality after the law took effect. "We knew the smoke-free air law would have a tremendous health impact on Wisconsin, and that's exactly what we're seeing now," said Jambois.

Despite the smoke-free law, nearly 8,000 Wisconsinites die each year from tobacco-related illnesses and tobacco costs the state $4.5 billion in health care and lost productivity. For more information on tobacco's impact and local efforts, contact Ryan Sheahan, TFCDC Coordinator at 608-242-6297.

Researchers surveyed state residents as part of the Survey of the Health of Wisconsin (SHOW). View the full report in the Wisconsin Medical Journal:




  • Ryan Sheahan(608) 242-6297